FAQ / Support
You can bring one large suitcase per passenger (or two small ones), and a carry-on bag (a purse does not count as a carry-on). It is also recommended to have in your carry-on items that you may need on the first day of your cruise. This way, even if your luggage has not been yet delivered to your cabin, you will be able to enjoy all of the amenities as soon as you board the cruise ship. It is forbidden to bring the following items in your luggage : weapons and amunition, explosives, fireworks and bangers, compressed or liquefied gases (inflammable, non inflammable, coolant, irritable and toxic), such as campingaz, light gun, gun with infectious and toxic substances, corrosive and radioactive substances, and finally any illicit objects.
Little tip : If your suitcase has a classic color (black, grey or red), it would be desirable to give it a personal touch (color ruban or sticky label) in order to more easily recognize your suitcase during the different steps of your trip. Also, we suggest that you put a luggage label inside your suitcase. Never put your passports, visas, licenses, medicines, cruise documents or flight tickets in the luggage you check-in. Keep those items with you. However, you can keep a copy of your passport and travel documents in your suitcase.
Your luggage will need to be identified with the labels provided to you in your travel envelope along with your cruise tickets.
At Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line, the style is pretty casual ; you can bring shorts, t-shirts and sandals. Cocktail dresses and three-piece suits will be appropriate on luxurious companies such as Seabourn or Regent Seven Seas.
The essentials are light pants (in linen or in cotton), sweaters/shawls/cardigans for cooler evenings or air conditioned spaces. For land excursions, bring walking/sport shoes or shoes with a flat sole. Also in the essentials : sunglasses, bathing suit, hat and sunscreen. That way, you will avoid sunstroke and fully enjoy the caribbean sun.
Do not forget to bring workout clothes and shoes in case you wish to use the equipment and enjoy different fitness classes that are offered on the ship.
Also bring a few formal outfits in your suitcase, regardless of the company with whom you will be travelling. These outfits will be appropriate for some of the special evenings organized by the cruise company (2 or 3 evenings could be organized depending on the duration of the cruise). For example, with an 8 day cruise journey with Carnival, there is one captain's evening and one gala evening. With Carnival, the formal evenings do not require a tuxedo or a cocktail dress, but more like a classic outfit such as a summer dress for woman and a shirt and dress pants for man.
For a 12 day cruise with Royal Caribbean, there is one captain's evening and two gala evenings. When you travel with this company, it is recommended that men wear a shirt and tie and that women wear a dress.
N.B.: On all ships, a tuxedo rental service is offered.
High heel shoes are forbidden on the outside decks (in order to protect the wood).
Almost all ships offer a laundry service (even dry cleaning), but it can easily become expensive. You can bring detergent to wash your clothes by hand in your cabin.
In the daily program « Today » given on board, you will find all of the details of the suggested dress code; formal or casual.
Dress code definition (dining room):
- Casual style
- Think golf clothing. T-shirts, jeans and shorts are not allowed.
- Informal style
- Think « business casual ». Women wear a dress or a pantsuit, and men, a light blazer.
- Formal style
- Women are expected to wear a cocktail dress or an evening gown. Men should wear a business suit or a dinner suit.
List of toiletries :
- Hair products: shampoo, conditioner, hairspray.
- Accessories: comb, brush, hair ties.
- Shower gel, easier to bring than soap.
- Deodorant, antiperspirant.
- Toothbrush, tooth paste, dental floss, mouth wash
- Sunscreen, after sun lotion
- Razor, if needed.
NB: A hair dryer is provided in each cabin. For all of your electric items, sockets are provided with a 110V operating power.
Pharmacy list :
- Adhesive bandages.
- Health booklet.
- Blood group card.
- Treatment cream for sunburns.
- Medications (bring enough for the whole trip. Generally, ships only have the most common medications on board even some ports of call may be unable to help you). In case of a loss, think of bringing a list of your medications, including the dosage, timing of the medicine intake, and the generic names of the medications. Keep in mind that you will have restricted or no access to a pharmacy on the ship or in the foreign ports.
- Insect repellent
- Anti-nausea pills
It is forbidden to bring food and beverages in your carry-on bags and in the ship's cabin.
- Camera and video camera (do not forget additional film roles, memory cards, batteries, chargers, etc).
- Credit and debit cards.
- Travel and insurance documentation (police insurance number and insurance company's emergency phone number)
- Laptop, computer accessories.
- DVD, CD
- Mobile phones
- Medical prescriptions, if applicable.
- American money for your expenses at the calls (avoid bringing a large amount of money in cash), some shops will accept traveller's cheques, redeemable on the ship.
- Bring a second pair of glasses in case of a loss or in case your main pair becomes damaged.
For boarding on the ship:
- Electronic documents.
- Passport (Mandatory. It is essential that your passport is valid for the whole duration of the cruise and for some calls, the passport must be valid 3 or 6 months after your return).
- Credit card registered at the moment of the pre-registration.
Every cabin is equipped with a private bathroom, a safe, a furnished ($) mini-bar, a television and a hair dryer.
- Oceanview cabin
- Cabin with a window (porthole) and an ocean view (availabilities depend on departure date, fares are upon request).
- Balcony cabin
- Cabin with a window (porthole) and a glass door leading to a private balcony.
Carnival Cruises cabin types
Every cabin is equipped with single beds that can become a king size bed once positioned side by side. However, if at the time of your arrival, the beds are not as you would expect them to be, you can make a request to the cabin staff and they will change the layout where possible within the next 24 hours. With Carnival this kind of request cannot be made at the time of the reservation.
- Inside cabin
- Category 4B 185p2 Deck Riviera(4) or Upper(5) Economic and comfortable. Ideal for those who want to fully take advantage of the ship amenities and use their cabin mainly to change or to sleep.
- Balcony cabin
- Category 8B 230 p2 Deck Riviera(4) or Upper(5) Spacious and luminous. The balcony cabin is perfect for a couple / a family or friends who want to have some space to enjoy their privacy. With an oceanside balcony, this cabin is very much appreciated by guests looking for some alone time. This cabin is equipped with a porthole window and a glass door leading to a private balcony. Balconies are separated by an opaque partition. The cabins are a non-smoking environment, but smoking is allowed on balconies.
Royal Caribbean cabin types
Some cabins are equipped with single beds and others with king size beds. It is possible to make a request at the time of the reservation. The cabins are equipped with a television, a small fridge, a safe and a bathroom with a shower and a hair dryer.
- Inside cabin
- Category N 158 p2 Deck 6-7-8 Economic and comfortable. Ideal for those who want to fully take advantage of the ship amenities and mainly use their cabin to change or to sleep.
- Oceanview cabin
- Category I 161p2 Deck 2 A little more spacious than the inside cabin, this cabin is recommended for families or friends who appreciate an ocean view.
- Balcony cabin
- Category E1 162p2 + balcony 42p2 Deck 6-7-8 Spacious and luminous. The balcony cabin is perfect for a couple / a family or friends who want to have some space to enjoy their privacy. With an oceanside balcony, this cabin is very much appreciated by guests looking for some alone time. This cabin is equipped with a porthole window and a glass door leading to a private balcony. Balconies are separated by an opaque partition. The cabins are a non-smoking environment, but smoking is allowed on balconies.
In the travel industry, it is common to see this kind of price range, because the cruise line company sells a single occupancy cabin at the full price of a double occupancy cabin.
- Guaranteed cabins
- Most cabins are sold in guarantee, this means that you pay for a guaranteed type of cabin, but for the same price, it is possible (not necessarily automatic) that the cruise line company may offer you an upgrade. An upgrade would consist in being allocated a cabin located on an upper deck of the ship.
Usually, the higher the cabin is, the more expensive is its price. In this type of sale we cannot guarantee special requests (cabin near or on a specific side of the ship). The guaranteed cabin numbers will only be known one month before departure.
- Assigned cabins
- An assigned cabin is final, so if the company offers an upgrade, an assigned cabin will not be eligible for this upgrade. Assigned cabins are only available upon request. No fees are charged to assign a cabin.
An upgrade allows you to have an identical cabin type but from an upper category. For example, if you reserve an inside cabin, the upgrade will still offer you an inside cabin but on a higher level of the ship, so closer to pools and services. This kind of upgrade is highly appreciated particularly if you have a balcony cabin, because the higher you are, the better the ocean view becomes. And keep in mind, this is all for the same price (without any additional fees)!
It is the cruise line company that will grant an upgrade, depending on its availabilities. The upgrade will be made at the moment of the cabin attributions. Please note that VarVacations does not have any power over this, so in this case, some special requests such as having a cabin near your family or in the center of the ship might not be possible.
If you have special requests, we recommend that you choose your cabin, but note that you will not be eligible for an upgrade if the cruise line company offers one.
At any point once your reservation is made, you can choose to change your cabin type to effectively upgrade it yourself for a higher class (eg. from an inside cabin to a balcony cabin). Your reservation fare will be adjusted accordingly on a new bill.
N.B.: Fares can vary depending on the availabilities and the day of your request.
Dinner times for Carnival Cruises
You have the choice between 3 different services for the main restaurant, the Bacchus (on the Miracle):
- The 6:00 PM service will enable you to attend the main performance of the show in the large room, which is at 8:30 PM (other performances are offered and can be seen on the log book).
- The 8:00 PM service will enable you to take some time to relax before dinner. This is especially desirable after a daylong land excursion.
- The personalized service is flexible and enables you to attend dinner when you are ready and if a table is available, we will offer it to you or if not, we will give you a pager that will notify you as soon as your table is ready.
Dinner times for Royal Caribbean
You have the choice between 2 different services for the main restaurant, the Magellan/Da Gamma/Columbus (Explorer of the seas)
- The 6:00 PM service will enable you to attend the show in the large room at 8:30 PM.
- The 8:00 PM service will enable you to take time to relax before dinner. This is especially desirable after a daylong land excursion.
All cabins are a non-smoking environment, and violators will be subject to a fine. If your cabin is in the balcony category, you are allowed to smoke on your balcony. Otherwise, you can smoke in certain areas of the casino and the sports bar, and on all the outside decks.
With Carnival only, each passenger is allowed to bring on board ONE bottle, but expect a corkage fee ($10 to $15) if you ask a waiter to open your bottle in the dining room. Fees will be applied on your cruise bill. During the calls, you can bring back a bottle of alcohol as a souvenir. The staff will put this bottle on the side and will give it to you before landing. There is no allowance for wine bottles on any of the other cruise line companies.
- Meals eaten in the main restaurants.
- Activities and shows offered by the ship staff.
- Access to the captain's evenings and/or to the farewell evening.
- Access to calls.
- Activity programs for children.
- Tips on board
- Alcohol, soft drinks, gourmet coffees and pastries on board
- SPA Treatments
- Gourmet restaurant(s)
- Lunches and dinners during calls (if you wish to try the local cuisine)
- Souvenirs and excursion(s) on calls
- Internet cafe and telephone
- Medical services
- Video games, casino, duty free boutiques…
- Royal Carribean
- The minimum cost you should expect for tips is 12$ US per day, per passenger; this is associated with standard cabins. The minimum cost you should expect for tips if you are in a Suite is 16$ US. This fee is automatically added to your expenses on your Seapass card.
- The minimum cost you should expect for tips with this company is 11.50$ US per day, per passenger. This fee is automatically added to your expenses on you “sail & sign” card, from the second day of your cruise.
- The minimum cost you should expect for tips with this company is 12$ US per day, per passenger. This fee is automatically added to your expenses.
N.B.: It is possible to give a more personalized tip in order to underline your satisfaction. The only thing you need to do is to obtain the envelope planned for this purpose from the passengers' office.
Soft drinks are never included but it is possible to get a pass or a package (between $6 and $8 per day per person), available in all bars on board.
Our fares include harbour taxes, government taxes and the OPC (Office de Protection des Consommateurs).
Subscribe to a travel health insurance that offers a minimum cover of $500,000 for accidental injuries, foreign hospitalization and medical evacuation on sea (the evaluation cost of a patient by helicopter, from a cruise ship can easily reach $150,000). It is important to know that the RAMQ does not cover more than the fees applicable for trips outside Quebec.
Generally, cruise reservations are made several months before departure so to protect your travel investment, we recommend that you procure a cancellation/interruption travel insurance. It is best to be prepared, even for the unexpected, such as a job layoff, a parent falling ill, an unexpected pregnancy…
We also recommend that you procure luggage insurance at the moment of your reservation. In case of a loss or damage of your luggage, you will have to directly contact your insurance agent. The responsibility of the cruise companies regarding luggage is managed by international conventions.
We suggest that you obtain higher coverage insurance that includes full medical, travel cancellation and interruption (44 risks covered) and luggage protection. Insurance sold by VarVacations is provided by the RBC company.
Once your reservation has been made, you have to register on the cruise line company website. This has to be done by each of our passengers in order for us to guarantee that all of our guests benefit from a prompt boarding on the day of the cruise departure.
- The pre-registration is called ONLINE CHECK IN and the website is only available in English.
- Royal Caribbean
- The pre-registration is called SET SAIL PASS, the website will ask you to choose the language and it is available in French and in English.
- The pre-registration is called ONLINE CHECK IN and the website is only available in English.
VarVacations offers to fill in your pre-registration for you, for free. In order to do this, we will send you a document to complete once we have received your final payment, or upon request. Once the pre-registration is complete, you will be able to book excursions, gourmet dinners or SPA treatments and much more to embellish your stay on the cruise.
Trolleys are provided in order for you to deposit your luggage. Each piece of luggage needs to be identified with the labels specifically made for this purpose and that were provided to you along with your electronic tickets. Your name and your cabin number are identified on these labels. Note that your luggage will be directly delivered to you by the cruise staff later on in the afternoon. After dropping off your luggage at the designated area, you then take the escalator to go to the registration floor. At that location you will find everything you need to wait comfortably for your boarding: washrooms, beverages, snacks (at your expense). When it is time, to enter into the boarding area you will need to show proof of your pre-registration, your electronic tickets and your passport. Having pre-registered and having your electronic ticket IN HAND will give you priority access to boarding. You will then be given an identification card and a card with a number on it. When your number is called, you must present yourself with your identification card, your electronic tickets, your passport, your credit card (or cash deposit) and the card we just gave you. Finally, it is recommended to keep all of these documents with you and close at hand until you board.
These cards will be used for several purposes: they will be your cabin and safe keys, they will also be used on board for all of your expenses (no need for a wallet). Finally, they will be used as access cards to leave the ship and return on board at the different calls. Each person will have one card. The photo that will have been taken of you when you first boarded will appear on the card. This will guarantee the safe and secure use of the card. In fact at each transaction your photo will appear on the staff screen; this way you can be sure nobody else uses your card. The card does not have any distinctive marks on it, so in case of a loss it is impossible to associate the lost card with its owner or a cabin number. At any moment you can check your expenses on your cabin television. At the end of the cruise, all of your expenses will be cumulated and paid in a single payment on the credit card you registered when you first boarded. It is also possible to pay your bill at the passenger's office, before landing.
Usually, passengers on cruise use their credit card to pay their expenses, but it is possible to do the transactions with a cash deposit. To do so, at the time of registration on the cruise line company's website, indicate that you will choose the cash option and when boarding, present yourself with the required amount in USD. This method of payment is similar to the use of a debit card. If however the initial amount is exhausted, the staff will notify you and ask you for additional funds to pay your future expenses.
It is recommended that you pack your luggage the night before arrival but plan to keep clothes handy that you will need for your last day on board. A member of staff will give each person a customs card. This card is in English since the customs officers are American. Please note that it is mandatory to fill out this card. To leave the ship, you will need your passport and the completed customs card. In order to save time, we recommend that you keep your luggage with you and that you present yourself at the main lobby from 8:00AM onwards.
To take advantage of the best available cruise fares, it is recommended to book at least six months in advance. However, it is possible that even at that time the desired cabin type may already be sold out. To make sure you have the cabin of your choice, it is better to book as soon as possible. Generally, fares are available from the month of June for the following year.
On board, there are accessible cabins made to accommodate people with disabilities. In order to be granted an accessible cabin, you must complete a specific request form (available upon request). This form will also allow you to request the service of a wheelchair for boarding/landing. It is important to make the request as soon as possible in order to guarantee availability.
For any other disability, allergy or health problem that would require a medical follow-up on board or that would require special equipment a specific request form will need to be completed.
The cruise ships offered in our packages are equipped with stabilizers, which allow the ships to attenuate the effects of sea rolling and pitching. In your case, we recommend that you select a cabin situated towards the center of the ship, because in this manner you will be subject to less movement during your sleep. It is also recommended to eat consistent foods in order to facilitate digestion and thereby reduce the effects of sea sickness.
Cruise line companies are always informed of any meteorological changes and as soon as a hurricane is forecasted, ships with an itinerary that would cross the storm are assigned to another maritime route. No cruise line company will take the risk of putting its passengers and ships in danger. This is one of the reasons why calls are never guaranteed on cruises. The cruise line company has the right to change the itinerary at any point.
Athletic? Saltwater pool, waterslides, jogging track, gymnasium, mini golf, climbing walls (RC), skating rink (RC), sports broadcasts.
Fan of music and going out? Wide variety of shows, comedy routines, jazz club, night clubs, ballroom.
Fan of games? Bingo, board game room, arcades ($), pool games organized by the staff, casino ($) including slot machines, Black Jack, video poker and roulette.
Interested in learning new talents? Dance classes, towel folding classes, aerobics classes, golf simulator, ice sculpture demonstration.
Just looking to relax and tan? Shopping in the duty free boutiques ($), body and face treatments at the SPA ($), hot tubes, Turkish baths, barber shop ($), hairdresser ($), swimming in adults-only pool. More activities are suggested in the ship log book, available in English only.
Ships on which we propose you cruise offer a program specifically intended for children; this program is included in your package price. Kids are grouped together according to their age. Activities are planned for each age group in order that they may all enjoy their cruise experience to the fullest.
N.B. It is the child's age that will determine their group. No exceptions will be allowed, not even for brothers and/or sisters, nor children who have skipped a grade in school.
Cruise line companies, for environmental reasons, have decided to print less log books and to print mainly the most popular brochures. Except in the case of an unusually large group of French speaking guests, it is generally impossible to obtain log books in French. This also applies to menus and any other informational documentation given on board.
Some staff members from Carnival and Royal Caribbean speak French but most of them speak English or other languages. If you need help, you can ask your guide or the passengers' information office; members of this office all speak several languages.
- Lists of people who want to take part in organized land excursions fill up quickly. If you did not make a land excursion reservation before departure, we recommend that you do so as soon as you board the ship.
- Do not forget to plan a budget for expenses during excursions. Prices can vary widely depending on the port of call, the cruise line company and the offered activities.
- If you are elderly or if you have restricted mobility, please verify with the cruise line company that all ports of call can meet your needs.
- It is never mandatory to participate in organized excursions. You are usually welcome to explore the port cities and take in the sites on your own.
- If you choose to explore a port of call on your own, do not lose track of time! If you miss the ship's departure, you will be required to make your way to the ship's next port of call at your own expense.
- During an excursion, always bring ID with you as well as your travel information (the name of your ship and the quay number where it is moored). Also bring a photocopy of your passport.
- During an excursion, leave your valuables on board, including credit cards and cash that you do not expect to need.
- Reduce risks during land excursions by booking with your cruise line company or with a travel agency; this way, you will be sure they will look after your personal safety and will ensure all equipment used during activities is safe for you.
- Before leaving the ship for a land excursion, check the ship's departure time from the port of call. The ship will not wait for you if you are late to return. Excursions offered by the company guarantee an on-time arrival. Independent travelers will need to be punctual and informed of the departure time.
- We recommend that you wear convenient/sports clothes and comfortable shoes. If you visit a place of worship, we suggest that you wear a more appropriate outfit.
Good to know : A port of call is never guaranteed; the cruise line company has the right to change its itinerary at any point.
- Port side
- Left side of the boat looking forward
- Oceanview cabin
- Room with a sea view
- Inside cabin
- Room without a sea view
- Passenger capacity
- Total number of passengers
- Stairs or access ramp to board the ship
- Chief of Staff
- Commander and officers
- Round fixed window
- Cockpit or wheelhouse
- Back of the ship
- Front of the ship
- Square or rectangular window
- Meal services
- Number of services varies with the type of ship and/or number of passengers; generally one or two services per meal
- Depth of the submerged part of the ship
- Volume capacity of inside spaces
- Right side of the ship looking forward
- Speed expressed in knots
- One knot = 1 nautical mile, or 1,852 km/hour
It is important to note that most cruise line companies have restriction when it comes to pregnant passengers; a woman can be allowed on board if she is in her 24th week of pregnancy or less at the time of the cruise's end date. A medical note will be required at the time of boarding to confirm the number of pregnancy weeks.
Contact a health clinic specialized in travel before departure to have recommendations on vaccines and preventive medication before traveling. Inform your doctor of the cruise itinerary (available through the cruise line company), because some ports of call require an international vaccination certificate against yellow fever in order to be allowed to land.
If no vaccine is required to travel in the Caribbeans, it is nonetheless prudent to have a tetanus booster shot before leaving.
On board, drink bottled water only, keep yourself hydrated at all times and wash fruit that you eat during excursions. Watch your alcohol consumption; excessive consumption on board can lead to serious accidents. You can of course bring your own first-aid kit, especially when you go on excursions. This being said, you will be in good hands on board. Remember that these days, cruise ships are equipped with medical facilities and it is always possible to consult a doctor on board.
Know that noroviruses can spread quickly on a cruise ship. For preventive measures it is possible that we may refuse your access on board if you have had serious diarrhea before departure. We may ask you to stay in your cabin for 48 hours if symptoms occur throughout the course of the cruise.
Check if travel warnings have been issued for your boarding location or for any other country along your ship's itinerary.
Please note that in some ports of call, you will need an entry visa if you disembark from the ship to explore the surroundings on your own (instead of participating in the group excursions organized by the cruise line). Make all necessary visa requests before leaving Canada.
Sign-up to the service offered by the Registration of Canadians Abroad in order for this agency to be able to contact you and help you in the case of an emergency abroad, or to inform you of an emergency in Canada. Only indicate the country or the region where the boarding takes place (and not every port of call), the name of the cruise line and the name of the ship. You can register online, by mail, by fax or in person.
Inquire about laws and local customs of the countries that you will be visiting. If you violate the law at a port of call, you will be subject to the judicial system of the concerned country. On sea, laws of the country that exercises their jurisdiction on territorial waters prevail. For water outside of national borders, the international rights of the sea will be applicable.
Participate in emergency drills, make sure there is a life jacket for each occupant of your cabin and learn the evacuation procedures.
Never open your cabin door to strangers and do not stay in an isolated area with a person you do not know or trust.
Please note that mobile phones do not always work at sea and communication fees on board are very high. Wait until the port to make phone calls.
Our Contact Informations
699, Boul Thibeau
Trois-Rivières, Québec, Canada
Phone number : 1-844-PAS-CHER (free)
Phone number : (819) 693-8937
Fax number : (819) 693-6287
In agency : appointmentsMonday, Tuesday, Wednesday
8:30am to 5pm
8:30am to 9pm
9am to 5pm
Sunday 10am to 4pm
By phone – 1-844-PAS-CHERMonday, Tuesday, Wednesday
8h30 à 21h00
9am to 5pm
Sunday 10am to 4pm